The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) broke another attendance record at its annual meeting, drawing a total of 2,371 paid registrants to San Antonio, TX in January, including a record 721 active members and 1,427 affiliate members. Prior to the meeting, there was speculation that attendance might suffer because the Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Professional Education Conference had been moved from December to January in San Francisco, immediately following the PCMA meeting.
Instead, this year's PCMA meeting broke attendance records for the third consecutive year, while the MPI conference was also the largest ever (see story, opposite page).
Highlights of the conference included an electric keynote address by retired General Colin Powell, who called for a return to family and spiritual values in a world where the country's enemies are not so clearly defined as they were during the Cold War years. "This is a time of hope and optimism as more and more nations move toward democracy and market-
driven economies," he told a cheering audience at the meeting. Powell, whose keynote address was sponsored by Renaissance Hotels, also took time to attend a breakfast honoring Certified Meeting Professionals before his keynote. The breakfast was co-sponsored by Renaissance and Production Group International.
At another general session, a panel of chief executives from the Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, and Loews hotel companies, along with Mickey Schaefer, CAE, vice president for membership, meetings and conventions, and administration, American Academy of Family Physicians, and Douglas Ducate, CEM, CMP, group president of Production Group International, shared their views onin today's seller's market.
While conceding that association meetings were still an important part of the business mix at their companies, the hoteliers did not foresee a return to a buyer's market for the next decade. And neither did Ducate, who called the 1980s an aberration. "This is the good old days," Ducate said. He said hotel companies have the advantage of better legal departments and business acumen in general than do most associations. And he concluded that meeting planners need to be better business managers.
Daniel E. Weber, CEM, executive director of the Chicago-based Institute of Food Technologists, is the new president of PCMA. He pledged to continue to oversee the enactment of PCMA's strategic plan, to investigate strategic alliances with other industry organizations, and to improve relations with association chapters. Mickey Schaefer is PCMA's president-elect; Rich-ard Grimes, CAE, of the American Lung Association, is vice president; and Jean O'Donnell of the American College of Physicians is secretary/treasurer.